December 8, 2015- Square Dance Soiree:
Marta King called a lively square dance accompanied by music from the Horsenecks.

November 10, 2015- Scaling it Up:
One of the most important pressure points in developing a strong, local food economy is in recruiting and supporting beginning farmers to the trade. An equally important (but often overlooked) pressure point in the food system lies in addressing the needs of our established, small-to-mid-sized farmers who are seeking to take the next step and scale up their production to access bigger or different markets.

Panelists were: Tanya Murray-Organic Education Specialist at Oregon Tilth, Nick Andrews- Metro-area Small Farms Extension Horticulturist at OSU, John Deck- co-owner of Deck Family Farm, and Terry Fasel- Trade Development Manager for the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

If you were unable to make it to the event, we have posted the recording for you to listen to or download.

October 13, 2015- Food is Health: 
Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” But food can really be a pre-medicine. While it may not posses the almighty power to combat serious afflictions, food most certainly possesses the ability to strengthen the immune system, mitigate obesity related illnesses, and combat the common cold. What’s more, is that consuming a delicious dinner packed with nutrients is exceptionally more enjoyable than swallowing a mouth full of chalky vitamins.

Panelists were: Kaely Summers of Adelante Mujeres, Jeff Johnson of Rising Stone Farm, Dr. Antonella Aguilera-Ruiz, and Tom Wunderbro of CareOregon

If you were unable to make it to the event, we have posted the recording for you to listen to or download.

September 8, 2015- Get the Nerve to Preserve: Preserving the bounty of Oregon’s harvest ensures access to nutritious, local products throughout the year. Canning, freezing, dehydrating, pickling, and fermenting techniques redirect excess produce from the fields to the pantry shelves. Whether taking on the endeavor at home or purchasing value-added products, food preservation keeps the locally grown green beans and peaches on our plates in February and beyond.

Panelists were: Megan Denton-Able Farms, Leah Rodgers-Rockwood Urban Farm, and Sarah Masoni-Oregon State University Food Innovation Center Experiment Station.

If you were unable to make it to the event, we have posted the recording for you to listen to or download.

August 11, 2015- The Soil Will Save Us

Thousands of years of poor farming and ranching practices—and, especially, modern industrial agriculture—have led to the loss of up to 80% of carbon from the world’s soils. That carbon is now floating in the atmosphere, and even if we stopped using fossil fuels today, it would continue warming the planet.

In The Soil Will Save Us, author Kristin Ohlson makes an elegantly argued, passionate case for “our great green hope”—a way in which we can not only heal the land but also turn atmospheric carbon into beneficial soil carbon—and potentially reverse global warming.

Panelists were: Kristin Ohlson, Mike Moran, CEO of Columbia Plateau Producers and Marisha Auerbach, a permaculture teacher and consultant based in Portland, OR.

If you were unable to make it to the event, we have posted the recording for you to listen to or download.

July 14, 2015- The Feed Your Food Eats

Do you ever consider all that goes into nourishing the animals that eventually nourish ourselves? Sourcing feed options that adhere to specific requisites like non-GMO or local often proves rather challenging for livestock producers.

Nutrition and ethics are two guiding principles when selecting the right feed for livestock, but accessibility and locality are also weighted considerations for producers. In addition to the quality of life livestock animals receive as a result of their diets, other direct results of producers’ feed decisions are taste and quality of the meat itself.

Our panel discussed livestock feed options from the producer, nutritionist, and butcher perspectives.

Panelists were Alice Royle, nutritionist and operator of Union Point Custom Feed, Aaron Silverman, co-owner and founder of Tails and Trotters, and Tom Winterrowd, co-owner and operator of Pitkin-Winterrowd Farm.

If you were unable to make it to the event, we have posted the recording for you to listen to or download.

June 9, 2015- Fill Your Freezer, The Value of Buying in Bulk

Bulk purchases of farm direct meat, dairy, veggies, and value-added products benefit eaters and farmers alike. Whether transactions occur through individual or aggregate channels, there is inherent value to both buying and selling directly from farmer to eater.

Eaters procure high quality, local foods at reduced overall costs. Producers are able to sell large quantities of food, economizing time spent on each transaction and reducing overall costs to the farmer.

But, along with this savings comes the responsibility to retain the value of the product by adding “shelf-life” through preserving and proper storage.

Panelists discussed how they engage in bulk purchase programs, either from the farmer, broker, or eater perspective.

Panelists were: Chrissie Manion Zaerpoor, Kookoolan Farms, Rebecca Anderson, founder of Know Thy Foods, and Beverly Klock, Klock Farm and Nursery.

May 18, 2015 (Bend)- The Next Generation of Farmers in Central Oregon

The farming landscape is changing, most notably with the demographics of farmers themselves. As the average age of farmers continues to rise (currently at 59 years old), barriers blocking younger farmers from gaining a foothold in the dirt are numerous.

What do the numbers look like in the High Desert and how do they compare with the rest of the United States? What are the unique factors we face here in Central Oregon that contribute to the rising average age of farmers?

This discussion explored these questions, as well as plans for the next decade of the farming landscape. Panelists were: Linda Anspach, co-owner of DD Ranch in Terrebonne, Jessi Suleiman, Central Oregon Chapter Coordinator for Rogue Farm Corps, and James Bernston, owner of Radicle Roots Farm outside Bend.

May 12, 2015- Edible Surplus in the Food Chain

Food waste composes the largest percentage of waste dumped into municipal landfills. That’s because nearly 40% of the food produced in the U.S. alone bypasses hungry mouths, and instead ends up rotting in landfills or decomposing in fields or compost heaps. That 40% equates to 96 billion pounds of food with a net worth of approximately 165 billion dollars!

These staggering numbers coexist with the fact that one in six Americans lacks a secure food supply, and this tragedy does not escape Oregon. 15.8% of Oregonians are food insecure, meaning that, at times, nutritionally adequate food is unattainable for this population. Fortunately, activists and practicalists, who see this paradoxical situation as its very own solution, are organizing and taking charge.

Panelists where: Renee Bogin Curtis of Portland State University Community Environmental Services, Diana Foss, Director of Urban Gleaners in Portland, Elise Bauman, President and Harvest Director of Salem Harvest, and Marc Marelich, Portland District Manager for Bon Appètit Management Company.

 

April 14, 2015- Food & Farm Financing: Investing in Where You Live & What You Eat

Finding financing for a farm is one of the most challenging obstacles for agricultural entrepreneurs. Historically, the options have been limited and many of the traditional institutions are reluctant to invest in agriculture, especially in small, non-commodity endeavors or start-ups. Factor in high land costs, mortgage payments, low-profit margins, student debt and a grim picture is painted. However, we are seeing progress in the farmer financing arena! Many farm and food business are turning to creative and community-sourced capital solutions and other new tools like Aggie Bonds, the new state lending program FoFF helped enact through 2013 Legislature. Come hear about all this and learn how every Oregonian can invest in people, place and planet!

Panelists were: Ginger Edwards of R-evolution Gardens and North Fork 53, Simon Love, of Hatch in Portland, and Jared Gardner of Nehalem River Ranch.

Listen to Ginger on Greenhorns Radio talk about farmer financing as well as being a full time food producer, a passionate educator of young farmers and a founding board member of the Nehalem Valley Farm Trust, a nonprofit that expands the vision and practice of sustainable agriculture throughout the north coast of Oregon.

 

February 17, 2015 (Bend)- Creative Growing Strategies in the High Desert

We’ll explore options and strategies being used by producers (like high tunnels, aquaponic systems, etc.) in the High Desert to provide more year-round access to local food. A challenge indeed! And one that many consumers may not be aware of. We’ll also learn about Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs available to farmers, like high-tunnel cost-share, and get insight on how to apply.

Panelists wereJimmy Sbarra of Volcano Veggies, Jim Fields of Fields Farm, Jake Polvi, Greenhouse Specialist, and Tom Bennett, Dechutes NRCS, District Conservationist

 

March 10, 2015- Get Involved! Local food, Sustainable Ag and the Power of Citizen Engagement in the 2015 Oregon Legislature

Join us Tuesday, March 10th to get up to speed on the family farm issues before the Oregon Legislature this session and learn how you can engage and advance the priorities that support local food and socially responsible farms and ranches!

Panelists were: FoFF’s Policy Director, Ivan Maluski, Oregon State Senator Michael Dembrow, District 23 and farmer Mike Geubert of Terra Farma in Corbett.

Read about FoFF’s 2015 policy priorities and stay up to date with what’s going down in Salem by checking out our blog.

 

February 10, 2015- Farming with Horses

Giddy up! Before tractors, horses did it all. Nowadays, farming with horses is considered rare in the landscape of mechanized farming. We’ll hear from a panel of famers with a range of experience and a deep appreciation for this endangered craft.

Panelists were: Expert horseman and breeder, Duane Van Dyke of the Oregon Draft Horse Breeders Association, Susan Richman of Belle Mare Farm, and Jesse Nichols of Stoneboat Farms.

January 13, 2015: Farm Direct Meat & Talking to Your Butcher

Are you looking for ethically raised meat options that support your local food system? Have you ever considered buying quarters, halves and whole animals? What are the steps a consumer needs to take to get that meat cut and wrapped for the freezer? And what are the state rules and regulations that inform this process? We’ll dissect these subjects as well discuss expanding the repertoire of commonly used cuts in the kitchen and more.

Panelists were: Nathan Moomaw of Moomaw Family Farm, Butcher Zeph Shephard of Proletariat Butchery and author, farmer and sustainability consultant, Rebecca Thistlethwaite.